The EEOC dictates that employers should ensure that “prompt, thorough, and impartial” investigations are conducted when complaints are made. Impartial investigations are more readily attained by independent consultants who do not have personal or professional relationships with the complainants, witnesses, and the accused. Further, an independent consultant does not have a vested interest in a favorable outcome, and is often perceived as detached and neutral by the employees and the EEOC. Internal personnel typically have many other duties that are extraneous to the exhaustive discrimination complaint process, and they simply need a third party consultant to conduct investigations. Many companies do not have qualified internal human resources or legal personnel to investigate alleged civil rights violations, and those that do are typically inundated with complaints. Outsourcing to competent consultants solves both problems.
According to the EEOC guidelines, “The employer should ensure that the individual who conducts the investigation will objectively gather and consider the relevant facts.” Objectivity is imperative to discrimination investigations, especially in harassment cases where witnesses must be asked proper questions and credibility must be weighed. Many employers and employees are concerned that internal personnel are too familiar with the employees and the complaint circumstances to be truly objective. This potential objectivity dilemma, whether actual or perceived by employees, the EEOC, or federal and state court judges, should never be applicable to independent consultants who report the facts.
The EEOC states, “Whoever conducts the investigation should be well-trained in the skills that are required for interviewing witnesses and evaluating credibility.” Many internal personnel may lack the necessary training and experience to adeptly investigate alleged civil rights violations or employee misconduct. Others are concerned about impartiality and objectivity. Very few from either category have the time to remain current on the continual changes in state and federal laws, which are essential to conducting quality investigations. Consequently, employers routinely outsource this specialized task to qualified consultants who conduct timely, thorough, impartial, objective, confidential, and competent investigations. Complainants may not use a complaint procedure perceived as biased, subjective, and administered solely by internal personnel. In supervisor harassment cases, complainants may even attempt to defeat the affirmative defense by establishing that the employer’s reporting procedure is defective. “Negligent investigation” is becoming an increasingly popular allegation in discrimination litigation, but it is much more difficult to prove if experienced, independent consultants conduct the investigations.
Civil Rights Act of 1866
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship and furthered rights to the newly emancipated slaves at the conclusion of the American Civil War.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) prohibits wage discrimination between men and women in substantially equal jobs within the same establishment.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Sections 501 and 505
Section 501 prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the federal sector. Section 505 contains provisions governing remedies and attorney’s fees under Section 501.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 includes provisions meant to reduce illegal discrimination in employment decisions. Enacted November 21, 1991, the new law applies to all employers who have 15 or more employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks per year.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993
Covered employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the acceptable reasons.
Notification and Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act Of 2002 (NO FEAR Act)
The NO FEAR Act requires that Federal agencies be accountable for violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws. This Act also requires that each Federal agency post quarterly on its public Web site certain statistical data relating to Federal sector equal employment opportunity complaints filed with such agency.
ADA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008
ADA Amendments Act of 2008 overturned a series of Supreme Court decisions that strictly interpreted the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 in a way that made it difficult to prove that an impairment is a “disability.”
29 CFR Part 1614
These regulations cover the U.S. federal sector and are designed to encourage equal employment opportunities.
Management Directive 110 (EEO MD-110)
The EEOC’s Management Directive, issued October 22, 1992, outlines the Commission’s policies, procedures, and guidance relating to the processing of federal employment discrimination complaints.
Management Directive 715 (EEO MD-715)
The EEOC’s Management Directive provides policy guidance and standards for establishing and maintaining effective affirmative programs of equal employment opportunity.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11246
Issued in 1965, Executive Order 11246 protects employees of covered Federal contractors and subcontractors from employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The Executive Order also requires that certain employers take affirmative action to ensure that all qualified applicants and employees receive equal employment opportunity.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11478
Executive Order 11478 of August 8, 1969, Equal employment opportunity in the Federal Government
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13124
Executive Order 13124 of June 4, 1999, Amending the Civil Service Rules Relating To Federal Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13152
Executive Order 13152 of May 2, 2000, Further Amendment to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in Federal Government.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13164
Executive Order 13164 of July 26, 2000, Requiring Federal Agencies To Establish Procedures To Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13496
Signed on January 30, 2009, Executive Order 13496 requires that Federal contractors provide notice to their employees of their rights under Federal labor laws.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13532
Executive Order 13532 of February 26, 2010, promotes excellence, innovation and sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13548
Executive Order 13548, issued on July 26, 2010, directs Executive departments and Federal Agencies to increase their efforts to employ Federal workers with disabilities through increased recruitment, hiring, and retention of these individuals.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13562
Executive Order 13562, issued December 30, 2010, established new pathways for students and recent graduates to enter the federal workplace through a streamlined, transparent, and more comprehensive hiring process.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13583
Executive Order 13583, issued on August 18, 2011, to promote the Federal workplace as a model of equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion by Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13658
Executive Order 13658, issued on February 20, 2014, to establish a minimum wage for contractors. to promote economy and efficiency in procurement by contracting with sources who adequately compensate their workers.
EXECUTIVE ORDER M-14-10
Executive Order M-14-10, Signed on July 10, 2014, Extension of Policy to provide accelerated payment to small business subcontractors.
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